1864: John Marsh to James Smith

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This kepi worn by a member of the 7th Illinois Cavalry

This letter was written by Corp. John Marsh (1842-1864) who mustered into Co. A, 7th Indiana Cavalry on 24 August 1863. Marsh was killed at Guntown, Mississippi on 10 June 1864.

John Marsh was the son of David Marsh (1810-Aft1880) and Julia [unknown] (1813-Bef1880) of Boone township, Porter county, Indiana. He was born in Ohio but it appears the family moved to Indiana in the late 1840’s.

The 7th Indiana Cavalry were organized at Indianapolis, Indiana, and mustered into the service on October 1, 1863. They left the state for Union City, Tenn., December 6, 1863. Attached to District of Columbus, Ky. 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, December, 1863. Waring’s Cavalry Brigade, 16th Army Corps, to January, 1864.

Marsh wrote the letter to James Hall Smith (1839-1909), the son of John W. Smith (1808-1877) and Electa A. Jackson (1810-1864) of Boone township, Porter county, Indiana.


Hickman, [Fulton Co.] Kentucky
January the 21, 1864

I take this present time to write you a few lines to let you know where I am and how and well. James, I am well except sore eyes. The have been sore some time,

We came here a week ago today. There had been some guerrillas here so we come here. We are quartered in houses. Our company and C is in one very large tobacco house. We are upstairs and our horses down. But we have got orders to leave here for Memphis tomorrow. Part of us goes on the boat and what horses that ain’t lame goes by land and the sick men and lame horses goes on the river. We are right on the bank of the Mississippi River.

There is pretty damned cold weather here. There is plenty of snow here and there is some very nice girls here. I have Tull I’m [in] love with one and hate to leave here. I was up to see her last night and she ain’t no secesh about her. I guess I will go and see her tonight and have the thing alright.

My horse is just as fast as he was the day we started and as long as I am able to steal, he will be so. We press things now and then into the service but that is all right, just so they don’t catch us at it.

Well James, we was on the march Christmas and New Years to Jackson after Old Forrest but he got out of our way. We was gone 19 days and the most of the time rained and snowed and we had these little dog tents. You know what they are—each man carries his half. Two dogs sleep together so you might say. I think I will take mine to start the fire some of these mornings.

I weigh the most that I ever did now 172 pounds. Well James, you must go to the City of Hebron pretty often and see how widows get along and don’t fail to help them if they want any help. Take good care of the doctor’s girl for she is the main one and go and see Boley as they call her and find out whether she is the same or not. You know who I mean. Don’t show this to very many. No more for the present. Write soon.

— John Marsh

to James Smith

Direct your letters to Hickman, Ky. Company A, 7th Indiana

John Marsh


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